Castor oil has been used for centuries by midwives to induce labor. However, most obstetricians discourage using castor oil for inducing labor as the method entails adverse side effects that are harmful both for the baby and the mother. The theory behind using castor oil to induce labor is that the strong laxative effect of castor oil stimulates contraction of the intestines, which irritates the uterine muscles and increases prostaglandin secretion that helps in inducing labor. Although, midwives vouch for the effectiveness of this strategy, it is not a desired method.
Here Is Why Castor Oil Should Be Avoided During Pregnancy
Increases Risk Of Meconium Aspiration Syndrome
Ingesting castor oil to induce labor can stimulate the unborn baby to excrete in the womb. The first fecal matter passed by the unborn baby is a dark green sticky substance known as meconium. Passing meconium in the womb is a sign of fetal distress. It increases the risk of the baby inhaling the meconium, which partially or completely blocks the airways. Meconium aspiration syndrome is a prominent cause of breathing problems in newborns.
Dehydrates The Mother
Diarrhea caused by castor oil dehydrates the mother. Dehydration is harmful for the mother’s health and is a major cause of extreme weakness after childbirth. It prevents her from taking appropriate care of her newborn child. Moreover, it also slows down postpartum recovery.
Reduces Milk Supply
Breast milk is the best food for babies. However, dehydration tends to reduce milk supply. If you cannot give your baby sufficient breast milk, it will affect the health of the newborn and will cause developmental problems.
Taking castor oil to induce labor stimulates painful contractions. A number of women who had taken castor oil to induce labor claim that their labor pains were more painful than labor pain experienced during natural birth.
Under no circumstances pregnant women should take castor oil before the 40th week of pregnancy. Consuming castor oil at an earlier stage of pregnancy increases risk of preterm birth. Preterm birth makes the newborn vulnerable to severe health problems and delays healthy development of the different organs of the body. Ingesting castor oil can also cause unwanted abortion.